After a torrid warm water stretch with temps reaching 80 on several occasions in early – mid-August water temps as of this writing is averaging a more normal 68 through most sections of the lake. Despite the warm water during that time patterns remained typical, consistent, and catches were excellent especially for the most targeted species walleye and musky. Only after the cool down which one would expect to amp up fishing did patterns change a bit. Not necessarily for the worse just different from the norm as fish made movements more typical of approaching turnover time. Is it a sign of an early fall approaching? Think about it, already seeing some nature signs from wildlife, fish movements, and some early color changes.
Walleyes through mid-August were on a typical reef, humps, and deeper hard bottom area bite at generally 25-35’ in main lake basins of vb, portage, nashes bay. As water temps cooled to more normal temps the typical bite was still there but big catch days required more moving around to find concentrations vs the rather stupidly easy bites of July and early August With the best bite moving to large shallower basin bays off the deeper main lake basins. Eldorado, meridian, portage, and even into the extreme south of nivens and generally much shallower at 16-25’ and even less which is more typical of late September. The only reason they would do this is because of baitfish movements namely shiners, perch and bug hatches. Instead of a good suspended over deep water basin trolling bite there is an excellent trolling bite going on in the pm with flicker shads and small cranks in shallow weeds and sand grass bays like myers, waldorf and I’m sure others similar at 7-10’ which I have never seen this time of the season in 25 yrs. Also, shallower breaks off grass flats and mouths of bays 8-12’ tapering into 18-22’ which again is more typical of late sept. In the next several weeks expect an excellent bite but be prepared to search and find it and don’t get caught in the rut of thinking what was happening last season at the same time isn’t and the fish are just not biting. Simply there are just too many walleyes of all year classes in the eagle lake system right now to not find a good bite someplace. It will stabilize into very predictable locations shortly just be prepared to look a bit if needed and what was good yesterday may need a relocation tomorrow, the fish are moving around a lot which tells us they are following baitfish movements/migrations specifically. Generally, it is a rig and jig bite right now with jigs getting the nod over rigging except for targeting bigger fish where large dace, small suckers, and snap jigging kalin flukes get the nod. On the shallow flats #5-7 flicker shads, shad raps, hornets, etc. Off boards. Because things are seemingly changing right now we will be updating weekly through rest of the season to keep you informed for upcoming trips.
Pike and good sized ones have been active and not just bigger pike by deeper fishing walleye fishermen as is typical for this time of the season. Since the cool down to normal temps quite a few bigger pike 35-44” have also been showing up in weed beds and shallower rocks surprising musky fishermen casting blades or jerk baits and by guys casting smaller spinners and buzz baits around for action-sized pike. There is always a few big rouge catches here and there but what is going on typically isn’t seen much until water temps drop start dropping below 60 into the 50’s. As we approach those temps in the next 2-3 upcoming weeks the pike fishing should be stellar. Though not being targeted much the lake trout fishing has been good for those giving it a try. Jigging white kalin flukes, kastmasters, and trolling spoons with snap weights or riggers at 65-80’ has produced nice fish 8-25#’s in recent weeks on eagle in the trout holes and portage bay. Not many targeting bass right now either but it has been very good for those that have. Ron Barefield and John Stone are in camp this week as guest fishing instructors and spending lot of time targeting bass and tearing them up. Bays off main basins of gilberts stretch, portage bay, and nashes bay with scattered weeds and rocks or logs at 5-8’ with crawdad/perch cranks, and jigs and plastics have been giving up 30-50 fish days with fish averaging 16-17” up to 20”. There are also a few starting to show up on shallow humps but mostly smaller fish at this point. That big movement is still a few weeks away and when it happens will be one of the best big bass bites of the season.
Musky fishing was excellent opener through 1st-2nd week of August Even during the heat wave. Since cool down which i expected to make things jump a notch more it got spotty. Fish 5 spots, nothing, next spot 2-3 come whistling in and want to bite or bite out first 2-4’, of retrieve. Movements in clusters, definitely watch the moon phases and most fish over 48” coming last 15 minutes of legal time. Lots of nipping, slapping, not solid t-bones often so lots of ons and offs. Stay alert, stick em’ hard, keep em’ down, and stay with em’. I believe possibly the cool down was associated with big winds and the thermocline got washed up, thinned out, and warm temps deeper so shallow movements more sporadic, relating to towards dark and lowlight conditions more and also fish need to get used to temp change. In recent days signs of getting back to normal again. Rocks both shallow and deep, weeds are thick and green, my best action and biggest fish last few trips been over deeper structure or thickest jungle I can find. Most from shallow structure coming straight up at end of retrieve so off break. In the past 3 weeks we have encountered some of the biggest fish of the season, several seasons, some giants, megladons, and in the next few weeks into fall some very special things could happen. Blades of all sizes have been the norm though I’ve done best catching on smaller 8’s and 9’s in brighter varieties moved fast but some of the biggest fish have been seen on bigger blades in darker colors. At the same time, you can have a day where you have opportunities on say 6 fish on 5 diff baits including jerk baits, cranks, blades, rubber. First bait through has definitely ruled regardless of presentation. It does not seem any section is any better than another right now. Best advice right now is fish hard, mix it up, stay concentrated, don’t give up till the fat lady sings and you’ll have pics at the end of the week. The last couple weeks have been just a hiccup and usually what follows is a great bite. With the fish movements already occurring and nature signs I think it’s going to be a great fall with lots of big fish.
If you are thinking of a fall trip the best is yet to come and fall is our time to show you your personal best. There are several openings last 2 weeks of sept., 1 opening for 2-6 3rd week of October, and 2 openings for the last week of October These are during our fall trophy musky hunt, peak times, and some of the biggest fish of the season are traditionally boated.